Scriptures: Ezekiel 36:26-27, Proverbs 23:7
There was a man selling a warehouse that needed a lot of work, he had let the building get run down. When a buyer came he offered to fix up the building, but the buyer wanted the site, not the building. We think God wants our building, but God wants the site!
Many people try to serve God with head knowledge. We focus on fixing up the building, but God desires our site: our hearts. The heart is the site of intellect, the conscience, the emotions and the will. The heart is where true love exists. You can give God the building, but still control the site.
Jesus cares about the heart, Jesus wants your heart! The heart reflects the true person. Our actions give others a glimpse of our heart. Our speech reveals the state of our heart. Our heart reflects who we really are.
The site is what is valuable! We can renovate the building, the outside, but only God can change our hearts. A coat of paint will not cover up the things which have affected our hearts. God says that He will take the stony heart out of our flesh and give us a new heart of flesh. God is not here to clean up our heart, He is here to gives us a brand new heart! When you have new heart your values change, your actions change, your words change and your building changes.
Are you ready to give God the site? Are you ready for a new heart?
Scriptures: Genesis 19:1-6
The choices we make can determine the course of our lives and our character. Today we will look at Lot to understand this concept. Lot made costly terrible decisions; when given the choice of land Lot chose the well-watered plains and slowly moved into the city of Sodom. He made what the world would consider a wise business decision, but Lot made three major mistakes when he was making his decision to chose the land of Sodom.
First, Lot's decision was based totally on appearance. We must remember that appearances can be deceiving! Wanting good things in life is not wrong, but being controlled by material things is!
Second, Lot failed to consider how his family would respond to this environment. He didn't take into consideration the effect it would have on them, because as people we sometimes can focus on status in life and overlook the importance of character. We can be drawn to the enjoyable and neglect the beneficial.
Finally, Lot never sought God's direction. Lot did not ask God's advice because he did not want to hear the answer.
When it was time for Lot to correct his actions the Bible tells us that he "lingered." He felt some kind of safety in a world in trouble. Temporary rewards blinded him and angels had come to save him. His whole family had embraced the wrong value system. Lot ignored the evidence of his decisions and actions.
God's Word has come to deliver you, ask yourself: "why am I lingering?" Where does your reluctance come from? Lot lingered in a place he did not belong anymore. Have you lingered too long? The Bible tells us: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you."
"Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down
Scriptures: Ephesians 4:25-27, Proverbs 14:17, Proverbs 18:13, Matthew 5:21-22, Mark 3:1-5
Today we are going to look at how we can overcome anger and what the Bible has to say about four different types of anger.
First we will look at sudden anger, which is when we lose our tempers and do foolish things. Proverbs 14:17 says it this way: "He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated." This type of anger causes us to jump to conclusions and assumptions. One of the fruits of the spirit that God gives to us is self-control, this is when we need to activate that gift. We must control our sudden anger!
The second type of anger is sinful anger. Matthew 5:21 and 22 speak about it this way: Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with
his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever
shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever
shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." This is anger without a cause; its an anger that seeks revenge. This is the type of anger that we begin to cherish and feed off of. Sinful anger must be condemned out of our lives!
The third type of anger is constant anger. This is the type of anger we use to get our way: to manipulate and control. This type of anger is dangerous because it leads to what the Bible calls malice. Malice leads to a desire to do harm to others: the dictionary defines it as "A desire to harm others or to see others suffer; extreme ill will or spite." We must conquer constant anger in our lives.
Finally we will look at sanctified anger, which is discussed in Mark 3, verses 1 through 5. In these verses Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath day, which caused the crowd to accuse Jesus. Jesus became angry with the corruption Satan had placed in their human hearts. When we allow Satan into our lives, he can establish a foothold that leads to a stubborn heart. What is important to realize here is that: Jesus' anger was channeled against the sin, not the people! The people allowed sin into their hearts because of their anger.
The Bible clearly tells us: " do not let the sun go down upon your wrath." Anger is a place for the devil to get into our lives and relationships. Overcome anger with continual repentance and asking forgiveness.
Scriptures: Judges 16:20, Acts 28: 1-6
There are some things in life that you can pray away, but there are some things which you must become aggressive against and shake them loose! Samson said, in Judges 16:20, "I will shake myself." Ask yourself the question: what do I need to shake loose?
Acts 28 is the continuation of a trial in the life of Paul. Paul is stuck in a storm, but at least he is in a ship. Then he faces the horror of a shipwreck, but he escapes the sea. He lands on an island to face present rain and cold weather. He makes a fire and some islanders come to help, but then he is bitten by a viper! Will the trials for Paul ever end?
We still serve a God who answers by fire! Paul shook the viper off into the fire; the viper should have killed him but it lost its grip near the fire. Everyone expected that Paul would die and they even had answers why.
When is enough enough? The attack at sea failed, so now Paul faces an attack on land. Are you tired of being sick and tired? It's time to clean your lens of disappointment: we need to view our lives thinking of all the possibilities! Our greatest hindrance is our memory!
God is bigger than His last move! The enemy's favorite statements are: you're never going to be anyone and you're never going to have anything. In church we hear of healings, see healings and even smell healings. But have you partaken of the healings? Have you possessed the healings? It's time to shake yourself and say I'm not satisfied with seeing or hearing the blessing! I want to experience it!
Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come. "What you focus on expands. So focus on what you want, not what you do not want."
Scriptures: Matthew 18:21-35, Matthew 6:9-15
Many of us know the requirement of forgiveness, but not the value of forgiveness. We understand that God expects and even commands us to forgive, yet do we really understand the blessing of forgiveness?
Forgiveness acknowledges that there was a wrong commited. When we forgive we recognize that something was done that needs to be forgiven. Forgiveness is confrontational: its admitting that something wrong has been done to you
Forgiveness changes our status. When we offer forgiveness, we change from victim to victor. We must remember that we are in control of our victim status! When we forgive we are no longer powerless to that situation. When we forgive, the action or the person can no longer control our responses in the present. When we do not forgive, we are constantly responding with the pain and bitterness of our past.
Forgiveness makes sense! But why? Because it is something we all need: its a universal need. Everyone person you meet (and all those you don't) need forgiveness. Forgiveness is the wise choice. Once you allow yourself to forgive your mind and soul will experience a relief they desperately need. Ask yourself this question: why keep holding on to something that reminds you of hurt or pain? If you have a headache, you take aspirin to make it disappear. The cure for your present pain is forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a road to personal freedom. Holding onto bitterness and anger are self destructive! Not forgiving is like taking a spoon of poison each morning: a slow death with a constant sickness.
Forgiveness is not Jesus' suggestion. It is a very clear command. Jesus has a problem with those who receive forgiveness, but will not grant forgiveness. He requires it of us.
God is always ready to forgive, the question is: are you?
Scriptures: Ephesians 5:15-17
Each day life's challenges are becoming more intense: there are three actions we need to take to live as overcomers. Today we will look at these three actions, we need to: analyze, stabilize and organize.
Analyze: "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise." We need to analyze our professional, private, family and fellowship lives. We all have a database of experiences and the wise learn from their successes and failures. The unwise repeat the same things over and over again. Analyze: have you adopted non-definable principles? Are you learning from mistakes and moving on, or falling into repetitive unsuccessful behaviors?
Stabilize: "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." Our decisions in life define our commitments. We need to bring our will in line with God's Word. We can make decisions based on feelings or make decisions based on God's Word. To stabilize our lives we need to apply the knowledge God's Word gives to us.
Organize: "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." A daily walk without organization is a stroll to nowhere. A Japanese saying describes it this way: "a vision without action is just a day dream, but an action without vision is a plain disaster." It's often be said: "failing to plan is planning to fail."
Life is becoming more challenging every day. We need to be wise and analyze our actions. Apply Biblical principles to stabilize our lives and organize so that we can get beyond our present circumstances. As life's challenges intensify overcomers rise to the challenges.